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Office of Communications
1601 S. Martin Luther King Blvd.
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November 20, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla.
- The Florida A&M University (FAMU) family is mourning the death of Robert Champion, one of the drum majors in FAMU Marching "100," who passed away on Saturday.

According to Ginette Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, "after the game, the band returned to the Rosen Plaza Hotel (9700 International Drive) and the victim reportedly threw up in the parking lot and started complaining of not being able to breathe. Friends of the victim called 911 and administered CPR. The victim was transported to Doctor Phillips Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. This is an ongoing investigation. There is no sign of foul play at this time."

"We are deeply saddened by this loss," said FAMU President James H. Ammons. "Our hearts and our prayers go out to Mr. Champion's family. This is a major loss for our student body, the Marching "100" and the University."

Champion, a music major from Atlanta, served as one of six drum majors for the 375-member Marching "100" band who traveled to Orlando this weekend for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Classic. A drum major since spring 2010, Champion had performed in the Classic's half-time show earlier in the day.

"We are in shock," said FAMU Band Director Julian White. "He was a very fine drum major who was of excellent character and very trustworthy. I had not told him yet, but he was slated to be the head drum major next year."

White met with band members early Sunday morning to inform them of Champion's death. The university is preparing to provide grief counseling for band members and other students through the University Counseling Center.

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